Letters: Teamwork speeds flood response

On May 4, 2010, in News 2010, by Mark Norris

May 4, 2010

The rain came, and some officials need to be applauded for their actions. For a week before the rain started, state Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris was in Washington, but aware, as others were, that a major event might begin Friday, which it did.

As the water began to rise, I and others contacted him constantly with advisories. Once it became clear what was happening, he started beating the D.C. bushes with Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker the minute water rose to a level beyond the ability of the emergency management agency to handle anything but rescue.

He spoke first with Shelby County Mayor Joe Ford, who did an outstanding job of getting into the fight and protecting the public from the outset, then with Bob Nations, director of the Shelby County Office of Preparedness, who advised him what was needed, and then with Gov. Phil Bredesen and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey. Both of those men worked all weekend to put resources where they were needed and issued the much-needed state of civil emergency for West Tennessee. All of these parties worked together and they had a point man in Washington with Norris.

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen was fully engaged as well, pressing for a city declaration. To a man, with the good leadership of Nations at the emergency management agency, they got a handle on this on Saturday for Shelby County, and the assessment phase that normally comes after a disaster was already under way, thus cutting the time for recovery.

Shelby is beaten up, but not down. Nor is the state. There is never enough help after a disaster, but due to the actions of these people and their staffs we are already well on the road to recovery.

M. Randolph Kruger


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